Miriam Boeri

Associate Professor of Sociology, Bentley University
Areas of Expertise:
  • Health Care Reform
  • Food & Drug Regulation
  • Immigration

About Miriam

Boeri’s research focuses on drug users and their social environments. By examining the intersection of socio-economic status, race, gender, and social capital over the life course, Boeri aims to reduce the adverse health effects associated with drug use and the harmful social impact of current drug policy. With funding from the National Institutes of Health, her recent work emphasizes the concept of “social recovery” as an alternative or complement to conventional drug treatment practices. Committed to including the voices of the marginalized and disenfranchised, Boeri is a strong advocate of harm reduction initiatives and served on the board of the Atlanta Harm Reduction Coalition. She currently is a board member of the Commission on the Accreditation of Programs in Applied and Clinical Sociology (CAPACS), and coordinates an annual student problem solving competition for the Association for Applied and Clinical Sociology.




Hurt: Chronicles of the Drug War Generation (University of California Press, forthcoming, 2017).

Weaves engaging first-person accounts of the lives of baby boomer drug users, including the author Miriam Boeri’s own knowledge as the sister of a heroin addict. The compelling stories are set in historical context, from the cultural influence of sex, drugs, and rock n' roll to contemporary discourse that pegs drug addiction as a disease punished by incarceration.

"Reconceptualizing Early- and Late-Onset: A Life Course Analysis of Older Heroin Users" (with Claire E. Sterk and Kirk W. Elifson). The Gerontologist 48 (2008): 637-645.

Argues that the baby boomer generation is not aging out of drug use as the maturing out thesis predicted, but that they are “maturing in” as well as “into” drug use as they age. Utilizes a life course perspective, in order to gain better understanding of older adult drug use, specifically contrasting early- and late-onset heroin users.

"Social Recovery, Social Capital, and Drug Courts" (with Aukje Lamonica and Liam Harbry). Practicing Anthropology 33, no. 1 (2011): 8-13.

Explains how the “social recovery initiative” (SRI) was implemented as a complement to a drug court treatment program, based on the theoretical framework of social capital. Includes a description of activities designed to engage recovering individuals in social events with the aim to form new social networks before leaving the treatment program. 

Women on Ice: Methamphetamine Use among Suburban Women (Rutgers University Press, 2013).

Provides a narrative-driven account of suburban women’s everyday lives that includes drug-using activities, and the choices they made within different social and cultural contexts.  Advocates  through the policy chapter for change in drug policy, and offers suggestions for alternatives to criminalization and “one-size fits all” treatment models. 

"Conceptualizing Social Recovery: Recovery Routes of Methamphetamine Users" (with Paul Boshears and David Gibson). Journal of Qualitative Criminal Justice & Criminology 2, no. 1 (2014): 5-38.

Provides in-depth interviews and drug histories that were collected from 50 former methamphetamine users, as well as examined for common strategies used on their route to recovery. Offer findings that suggest a shift in the primary focus from the cessation of all drug use, to reducing the social harms caused by problematic drug use, conceptualized as “social recovery."

"’I Don’t Know What Fun Is:’ Examining the Intersection of Social Capital, Social Networks, and Social Recovery" (with Megan Gardner, Erin Gerken, Melissa Ross, and Jack Wheeler). Alcohol Today 16, no. 1 (2016): 95-105.

Examines the lives of people with low socioeconomic status and problematic drug use, in order to see how they access positive social capital, distinguished by bonding, bridging and linking social capital. Highlights through its findings, the need for a greater focus on linking social capital through access to natural networks in mainstream society. 

"Gaps in Medical Marijuana Policy Implementation: Real-Time Perspectives from Marijuana Dispensary Entrepreneurs, Health Care Professionals, and Medical Marijuana Patients" (with Aukje Lamonica and Timothy Anderson). Drugs: Education, Prevention and Policy 23, no. 5 (2016): 422-434.

Examines the challenges of implementing marijuana policy in Massachusetts, where recent policy shifts have occurred. Provides findings that show a need for more transparency in implementation processes, more effective mode of communicating regulations, and a comprehensive plan for medical marijuana education.

In the News

"Bentley Researcher Awarded National Institutes of Health Grant to Study Opioid Use in the Suburbs," Miriam Boeri, Interview with George Grattan, Bentley University, April 7, 2017.
Miriam Boeri quoted on marijuana criminalization in Brad Avery, "Is Pot Addictive? Battle Smolders around Ballot Question" MetroWest Daily News, October 9, 2016.
Regular contributionsMiriam Boeri to The Conversation.
"Gendered Lives of Drug Use in the Suburbs," Miriam Boeri, Gender & Society Blog, February 1, 2014.
Guest to discuss marijuana addiction on WBZ/CBS Boston, Miriam Boeri, March 3, 2016.